The Trail Smoke Eaters leading scorer, Charlie Zuccarini, is gone for the season after the BCHL came down hard on the Trail forward for a match penalty in a game against the Coquitlam Express on Sunday.
At 16:49 of the third period Zuccarini was issued a match penalty for slashing the wrist of referee Kirk Wood. Video shows a frustrated Zuccarini making contact with the arm of Wood with his stick, after the referee inadvertently got in the way of Zuccarini while making a play. The Connecticut import was one of Trail’s most dynamic players this season, netting 27 goals and 30 assists in 45 games, good for seventh in league scoring.
“It is a big blow to our organization to lose a player like Charlie for the remainder of the season,” said Smoke Eater coach and GM Nick Deschenes in a release. “I can’t comment on the severity of the suspension only to say that any physical abuse of officials in the BCHL is not tolerated. Hockey is a fast and intense game and in the heat of the moment players do things they regret. I believe this is one of those situations.”
In a hearing with BCHL officials, Zuccarini and representatives of the Trail Smoke Eaters on Wednesday, the BCHL explained that officials are part of the playing surface and unfortunately come into contact with players as well as the puck from time to time. Players have no reason nor business intentionally making contact with an official in an aggressive manner and especially using their hockey stick. An abuse of an official, whether verbal or physical, is unacceptable and not tolerated in the BCHL.
Zuccarini is an Arizona State commit.